Essential Japan

19 Days
Tokyo to Osaka
From (GBP)
£ 11,795
Dates & Pricing

2020/2021 Tokyo > Osaka

The essence of Japan

This distillation of all things Japanese is designed to provide you with a truly unforgettable travel experience.
In the shadow of Mt Fuji, Hakone presents you with the opportunity to see the nearby Owakudani geysers and the unusual Hakone Open Air Museum. Try your hand at Sarubobo mascot-making at Hida Folk Village and origami in Hiroshima. From the large neon-filled, modern cities of Tokyo and Osaka to the historic villages of Shirakawa-go, Takayama and Tsumago Juku, you will see all aspects of Japanese culture and lifestyle during your journey. Enjoy the very best the ‘land of the rising sun’ has to offer, from feudal castles to traditional gardens, sporting traditions to tea ceremonies, from sake to sushi, and everything quintessentially Japanese in-between.
Tour Map
Tour Code:
19 days
Departure City:
Return City:

Selected Itinerary

19 Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1 - Depart UK

    Fly to Tokyo from a choice of UK airports with selected airlines.

  2. Day 2 - Tokyo

    This evening meet for your welcome reception and dinner at your hotel in Tokyo, your home for the next three nights.

    Meals Included: Dinner

  3. Day 3 - Tokyo

    Gather your bearings of Tokyo from above as you take in the view from Tokyo Sky Tree. Afterwards wander through Harajuku, the epicentre of Tokyo’s teenage youth. 


    Given by Taiko Masters, partake in an interactive, private group demonstration and lesson in playing the Taiko drums. 

    Freechoice Dining

    Choose from dining at a ninja themed restaurant or culturally immerse yourself in the traditional Japanese evening Izakaya bar scene serving Yaki-tori and Kushiyaki. 

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  4. Day 4 - Tokyo

    Visit the Asakusa district, paying your respects at Sensoji, the city’s oldest Buddhist temple. 


    Visit the Imperial Shinto Meiji Shrine, before walking across the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world and seeing the famous Hachiko dog statue in Shibuya. Alternatively, wander through picturesque Shinjuku-Gyoen Gardens before witnessing the Shinjuku entertainment district come alive at dusk. 

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  5. Day 5 - Tokyo > Hakone

    Begin the day in the beautiful Imperial Palace’s East Gardens, part of the inner palace area and the former site of Edo Castle’s innermost circles of defence. Then dress up in your chefs clothes to make your own sushi lunch with the help of a local chef. Venture into the countryside on your drive to Hakone and study the art works and sculptures at the Hakone Open Air Museum. Enjoy a Special Stay at your hotel overlooking Lake Ashinoko.

    Freechoice Dining

    Choose from Japanese or French menus at the hotel restaurant. 

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  6. Day 6 - Hakone > Five Lakes

    Walk around the hot springs at the summit of the Owakudani geothermal area and admire the stunning scenery during your cable car ride down to your Lake Ashinoko cruise with Mt Fuji as a backdrop. Later, discover the craftsmanship involved in creating kimonos at the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum. Soak in the views of Mt Fuji from your hotel.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  7. Day 7 - Five Lakes > Takayama

    En route to Takayama, learn how wasabi is made at the Daio Wasabi Farm. Stop at the Hida Folk Village to partake in Sarubobo mascot-making. Enjoy a two night stay at your hotel with amazing views over Takayama.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  8. Day 8 - Takayama

    Discover the historical farmhouses of the mountain villages in Shirakawa-go, now a World Heritage-listed Site. Back in Takayama, enjoy a sake tasting and visit a sake museum, then view the impressive Yatai festival floats before exploring the shops and backstreets of Takayama’s old quarter.

    Freechoice Dining

    Choose between Le Midi, a French-Italian-inspired bistro in town famed for its Hida Beef, or Sakanaya, a fine Japanese restaurant set in a renovated sake brewery. 

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  9. Day 9 - Takayama > Tsumago Juku > Nagoya

    Drive to Nagoya via Tsumago Juku, a fully restored and preserved Edo era post town in the Kiso Valley. Upon arrival in Nagoya explore the restored Hommaru Palace at Nagoya Castle. Enjoy your Teppanyaki feast at your overnight stay.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  10. Day 10 - Nagoya > Kyoto

    Relax in your Green (Business) Class seats on the Shinkansen train to the culturally rich city of Kyoto, home to many World Heritage-listed sites. 


    Partake in a Japanese tea ceremony while dressed in a traditional Japanese kimono, a great photo opportunity.

    Settle into your four night stay at your hotel.


    After a short stroll through the Gion area be entertained at dinner with a Samurai Kembu show. After the show you can choose to learn the way of the Samurai yourself with a lesson in swordsmanship.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  11. Day 11 - Kyoto

    Explore the World Heritage listed Tenryu-ji Temple before gliding through the surreal Arashiyama Bamboo Grove by traditional rickshaw. Move to the famous Kinkaku-ji or Golden Pavilion before enjoying some free time this afternoon.

    Freechoice Dining

    Choose between Japanese cuisine at Shinensen Heihachi, or international cuisine at the historic Fortune Garden.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  12. Day 12 - Kyoto


    Revel in the atmosphere of the ancient preservation districts or visit the Silver Pavilion and then stroll along the Philosopher’s Walk, especially beautiful during blossom season. 

    Later, marvel at the architecture of Nijo Castle, a classic reminder of the fascinating Edo-period shogunate’s power, before letting yourself loose in the Nishiki Shijo Shopping District during your free afternoon.


    Tonight’s dinner will allow you to interact with a Maiko, an apprentice Geisha, who will host your meal presentation. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn about what is involved in becoming a Geisha and the art of Japanese hospitality.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

  13. Day 13 - Kyoto > Nara

    Enjoy an excursion to Nara to visit Todaiji Temple and Nara Park. Stop at the Fushimi Inari Shrine, featured in the movie Memoirs of a Geisha.

    Choose to stay in a Ryokan (at additional cost, must be pre-booked before departure). This is a traditional Japanese Inn with futon beds and private facilities, and includes dinner and breakfast. 

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  14. Day 14 - Kyoto > Hiroshima

    Relax on the Shinkansen train to Hiroshima and check into the Sheraton Hiroshima hotel for two nights enjoying the view from your Deluxe Corner View rooms.


    Experience an emotional visit to the Peace Park and Museum before visiting Orizuru Tower to create your own special origami donation.

    Tonight, sample Okonomiyaki, a delicious savoury Japanese-style pancake and specialty of the region. 

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  15. Day 15 - Hiroshima > Miyajima Island

    Sail by ferry to Miyajima Island to visit the Daisho-in Temple and the floating Torii Gate at the Itsukushima Shrine. On return to the mainland visit the Mazda car factory and see the robots at work on the cars on the production line. 

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  16. Day 16 - Hiroshima > Himeji > Osaka

    Travel by Shinkansen to marvel at Himeji Castle, an original and Japan’s most spectacular castle, before continuing to Osaka. This evening catch the Osaka Metro to wander around the lively entertainment area of Dotonbori and Hozenji Yokocho food alley. Enjoy a two night Special Stay in Executive Rooms at your hotel.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  17. Day 17 - Osaka > Asuka

    Drive to the cradle of Japanese culture in Asuka. Wander through the Inabuchi terraced rice paddy fields, the ancient Tobiishi stone bridge and visit Ishibutai tumulus, the largest known megalithic structure in Japan. 


    Learn about the history, life and training routine of a sumo wrestler during a private visit to a Sumo Museum in Kehayaza, where Sumo originated. After the welcome ceremony, see a demonstration of Jinku and the wrestlers in action in the dohyo.

    Enjoy your Club Floor benefits before reliving your experiences at your farewell dinner.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  18. Day 18 - Osaka > UK

    Depart today with treasured memories of your time in Japan.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

  19. Day 19 - Arrive UK

    Welcome home.

Pricing & Availability